Private Practice: Top Must Haves for Success

Speaker:  Kathleen Mills, Private Practice Counselor of Life Tree Counseling Center

Topic:  “Top Must Haves to Cultivate a Successful Private Practice”

There are certain “things” you absolutely must have in order to run your practice smoothly.

In 1991, it was hard for me to even imagine starting a private counseling practice.  In March of 1992, Life Tree was only a figment of my imagination, yet on July 1, 1992, Life Tree became fully operational. Today, we continue a strong business presence, with a wonderful team of therapists serving many clients. What is even more amazing, is to embrace Life Tree Counseling Center’s 21st birthday!

Because of all that I have learned throughout these past 21 years, it is my desire to help other professionals by offering business seminars to help defend, protect, and cultivate others’ private practices.This newsletter is lengthy, but I hope it will help you understand me, and what I think has helped maintain the success of Life Tree Counseling Center. My purpose is to encourage you.

Be About The Basics

Throughout our 21 years, a few basic business principles stand out in my mind which I believe have contributed to our long-standing success and service:

  1. Mission Statement – Create a sustainable mission statement defining your business and purpose. Today this is called “branding.”
  2. Customer Service – Make it GREAT! Do all you can to promote, not hinder your branding.
  3. Dependability – Demonstrate dependability to both your referral sources and your clients.
  4. Keep It Simple – Decide and focus on a particular niche. Be careful not to over-expand your “professional career,” or to diversify so much that you appear scattered to potential clients, and an expert to no one.

Be Above The Crowd

Whether you are a business owner of a group practice or a solo proprietorship, you must embrace your job description and “calling” with fervor, going above and beyond the norm:

  1. Behind The Scenes – Pay attention to all the behind-the-scenes business operations to make your practice run smoothly every day.
  2. Your Day Is  Not Your Own – Be prepared to do whatever is needed to keep things operating well.
  3. Take Good Care Of Your Colleagues – This is crucial for those running a group practice. My colleagues gifts, talents, and passion make me excited to provide a comfortable environment in which to work. They deserve it! The promotion of team spirit is so crucial to promoting good will for not only your colleagues, but for your clients as well.
  4. Friday Is  a Full Work Day – Monday through Thursday does not cut it anymore. Friday is a full work day for most CEO’s. Decide what areas need cultivating, and do these things on Friday. Saturdays are work days too, at times.
  5. Be Prepared To Be A Lone Wolf – Developing and cultivating your business to stay ahead of the curve can require standing alone at times. Make decisions with clarity and knowledge, and implement the business plan. Associate yourself with other business professionals outside of your profession.

Be Ahead of The Curve

Whether it be in big or small ways, be aware of what is happening in the field, and stay ahead of the trends and changes:

1.  Pay Attention To Details – Your personal values will dictate your business model, business transactions, and the many decisions you need to make. Attention to details is imperative, especially when it comes to clients and referral sources.
2.  Cut No Corners – When it comes to proper paperwork, licensing board requirements, or treatment for your clients, take care to do things right! “The best offense is a strong defense.”

3.  ADAPT – Review business trends in the healthcare market, and make adjustments. Failure to do so will result in self-sabotage for having a successful practice. For example, the medical community does not practice medicine the same as they were once able to in the 1990’s.

4.   Forget And Learn – Forget the business-building adage from grad school, “Hang your shingle, and they will come.” Rather, LEARN from those who have a solid track record in developing their own private practices. There are many “consultants.” Know their history, and find out in what areas they are successful. Then decide if their model is one that you desire to learn from. Ask the following questions of a consultant:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • What is their definition of successful private practice?
  • How many years have they been successful?
  • Are they thriving?
  • How did they get there?
  • How are they continuing to do this?

5.   Prepare for Tragedy – It is common, and to be expected, so anticipate difficult situations. LTCC has weathered many storms throughout its tenure, but has managed to sail through each and every one of them. The KEY is building your practice from the start up correctly and very methodically. The more firmly built the business is, the more solid your business principles are, the better the remedies will be with a much faster resolve.

6.   Build with Strength and Faithfulness – Your business is only as strong and as faithful as you are. Grow from your experiences, and accept the consequences, while staying focused on the prize: a thriving business that serves its clients well.

7.  Economic Indicators – Failure to understand the economy can result in failure to adapt and change your pricing structure, and could ultimately limit your client base.

8.  Strong Legal Team – Retain a strong legal team who knows business law. Tragedy WILL occur – it is not a question of “if,” but of “when.” Don’t wait until tragedy strikes; be prepared. Know your legal team before anything happens.

Final Words

I love what I do! Sticking to your calling and the desire to help others yields an abundance of blessings, forms great business relationships, and makes good friends, strong purpose, and thankfulness for being adaptable to change. Stay current with your business, business culture, and the law of economics so you can Love What You Do!

Need to talk? Our counselors are flexible with their schedules and some even work weekends! Call us right now at 972-234-6634. We’ll return your call within 60 minutes (really!), or you can schedule an appointment using our online appointment system. We do look forward to meeting you.



Kathleen Mills

Kathleen is a creative and gifted therapist who has extensive experience in helping children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of issues.